Once upon a time I hung out with a couple other photographers who used to lug bulky, heavy cameras in their backpacks similar to mine. They always felt that it wasn’t really nature photography unless you had gotten off the main road, travelled some back road, then hiked a ways, and then got off the trail to your location. If a shot was taken from the trail or road it was “trail kill”, or “road kill”.
I relayed a story to them that a golf pro once told me. He said, “There’s no description on a scorecard. The player who slices his drive into the woods, then tops his next shot 50 feet, then follows up hitting into the sand trap, then holing out from the sand shoots the same number as the player who goes from the middle of the fairway to the green, then two putts.” Whether through a major expedition, or no effort whatsoever, nobody ever sees what went into getting a photograph.
As I was driving down towards Phoenix a few years ago, I came across some extremely unusual weather and lighting circumstances. I pulled off the main road and searched frantically for a good foreground. I was still shooting film at the time, and wanted to capture it that way, but never found the complete image I wanted. Instead of continuing on my way, I stuck around, seeing that the weather was rapidly changing. Prior to this shot there was a decent rainbow, and I thought that was my runner-up for the one that got away. Within minutes of the rainbow, I knew I needed to get back into my car in a hurry. I could actually hear the rain from this storm hitting the mountain a mile or two away. After starting up my vehicle, I headed back towards the main highway, but only briefly. Just as the drops started to pelt me, there was a pullout with a nice overlook. The wind-driven rain was coming from my left side, and the sun was still coming through on the right. I rolled down my very dry passenger window and started firing towards the storm. This shot would be the ultimate form of “road kill”.
I would’ve never captured this rain event outside the car without destroying my camera, but I didn’t know what I had until I saw the images on the computer screen later that night. Seeing this shot full size allows for the detail of the storm, so I’ve included a portion of it at 100% below.
This is my contribution to Monochrome Madness this week. You can go to Leanne Cole’s website to see the work of other bloggers.